Epileptic Seizures

Modified Atkins Diet, Medication May Reduce Seizures in Those With Tough-to-Treat Epilepsy

Jessica Ganga

The modified Atkins diet, combined with medication, is an effective treatment option for controlling seizures in people with epilepsy who are resistant to medication, according to a recent randomized controlled study.1

The researchers examined whether a modified Atkins diet, along with standard drug therapy, was more effective than the use of medication alone in reducing the number of seizures a patient with epilepsy experiences.

Participants involved in the study (n = 160) were resistant to drug treatment and were aged between 10 to 55 years old. Further, participants attended an outpatient clinic between August 2015 and April 2019 and had more than two seizures per month while taking at least three anti-seizure medications. 

Both adults (n = 80) and adolescents (n = 80) participated in the study and were randomly divided into either the intervention group, where they followed the modified Atkins diet, or the control group. At 6 months, more than 50% of seizure reduction was observed in 26.2% of patients in the intervention group, compared with 2.5% of those in the control group (95% CI 13.5 - 33.9); p < 0.001.

Additionally, patients in the intervention group saw a greater quality of life compared to individuals in the control group.

The researchers recorded a small number of adverse events that occurred in patients who were on the modified Atkins diet. One patient had weight loss, and two patients experienced diarrhea.

One of the limitations of the study was that the seizures were self-reported or reported by a caregiver. Therefore, some seizures may have been missed or went unreported.2

“[The modified Atkins diet] is an effective modality in controlling seizures, further research is required to assess its efficacy in terms of biomarkers along with descriptive metabolomics studies,” the researchers concluded.



  1. Manral M, Dwivedi R, Gulati S, et al. Safety, efficacy, and tolerability of modified Atkins diet in persons with drug-resistant epilepsy: a randomized controlled trial. Neurology. Published online January 4, 2023. doi:10.1212/WNL. 0000000000206776
  2. American Academy of Neurology. Can diet combined with drugs reduce seizures? ScienceDaily. January 4, 2023. Accessed January 19, 2023.